Travelling to Rotterdam on a budget might sound daunting, but there is plenty in this wonderful city in The Netherlands to keep you entertained without hurting your wallet. Rotterdam is definitely not visited as much as the Dutch capital Amsterdam, but it definitely should be on your bucket list if it isn’t already.
The city is full of beautiful waterways, quirky modern architecture and so much good food that your tastebuds will be tingling around every corner.
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Rotterdam Welcome Card
If you’re planning on visiting any paid museums, using public transport or even if you’re interested in discounts on bike hire or restaurant offers, then a good tip to do Rotterdam on a budget is to grab a Rotterdam Welcome Card. This card is your pass to major attractions around the city and can definitely save you some cash for the duration of your stay.
Markthall is an indoor food hall with an amazing architectural twist. The huge archway houses offices and underneath a huge market hall where locals and tourists alike come to grab a bite to eat.
The most breathtaking feature of the hall comes when you look up from underneath the arch and see the incredible painted murals adording the roof. It’s definitely one of the prettiest places in Rotterdam to eat lunch.
2. Cube Houses
Rotterdam is famous for its quirky, modern architecture and these bizarre cubed houses are the perfect example of just how avant-garde the city’s buildings can be.
Just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Markthall, the cubed houses can be explored by walking through the residential complex and for a very small fee, one is available to walk through for those curious about the interior layout.
3. Het Park
Rotterdam’s most famous park, Het Park, feels like you’ve walked right into a fairytale. The oldest park in Rotterdam, this beautiful piece of lush green land was nearly turned into an abbatoir but fortunately became this gorgeous public space instead.
It is a great place to take a stroll through and find the many scultpures dotted on the land or to bring a picnic and enjoy the calm surrounds.
4. Explore historic Delfshaven
Delfshaven features some of Rotterdam’s only pre-war buildings as it was one of the few areas not bombed during the war. Whilst the Rotterdam CBD buzzes with modern architecture, Delfshaven hearkens back to an older time. One of the best sights to visit in Delfshaven is the Pilgrim Father’s Church, which still stands tall in this historic borough.
A visit to Delfshaven is perfect if you’re seeing Rotterdam on a budget, because the real joy comes from strolling the old streets enjoying the step back in time.
5. Marvel at Rotterdam Centraal Station
Yet another architectural wonder, the Rotterdam Centraal Station is the main railway station servicing the city. It is from here that international trains arrive and depart daily, including the Thalys which connects Amsterdam and Rotterdam as well as the airport train.
The building itself juts out with an angular roof and even if you’re not taking a train, it is impressive to pop inside and take a look at the light and airy design of the station.
6. Walk the Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge is a relatively new addition to the Rotterdam scene, having only been completed in 1996. Since the bridge was finished, it has become a hugely popular landmark in the city and is now synonymous with Rotterdam.
What better way to take in the city’s many waterways than to walk over them by foot on this beautiful bridge, nicknamed The Swan for its bent pylon resembling a swan neck?
7. Take a trip to Kinderdijk
Though it might not be the cheapest thing to do in Rotterdam, a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Kinderdijk windmills is hard to pass up. For 16.50 euros you will be able to buy a combination ticket which provides a return ferry trip from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk, entry to the site and entry to a couple of museums located inside windmills. Site entry by itself is cheapest online, costing only 9 euros.
Kinderdijk is one of the most Instagrammable places in The Netherlands, with rows of windmills along grassy waterways. It’s also a fascinating learning experience to hear how the Dutch harnessed the power of the elements to pump excess water and avoid flooding.
8. Eat your heart out at the Fenix Food Factory
Food halls are quite the rage in The Netherlands. Foodhallen in Amsterdam is one of my favourite spots to frequent when I’m in the city, so I was thrilled to find out that Rotterdam also loves a food hall, too! The Fenix Food Factory has so many delicious treats that it will definitely be hard to whittle down your choices.
Fenix Food Factory is located right on the water, so you can eat lunch with a beautiful view, this food market has got plenty of takeaway options as well as eat in choices.
9. Check out the Street Art
Rotterdam is famous for its modern vibes and one of the best by products of this is the awesome street art that exists around the city. In fact, there is a whole museum in the city dedicated to this contemporary art form – the Rotterdam Street Art Museum. Luchtsingel is also an area well known for great street art and an elevated yellow pedestrian bridge.
For avid street art lovers, download the Rewriters App as a companion and walk the 7km Street Art Route through the city to see some of Rotterdam’s best artwork.
10. View the De Rotterdam Skyscraper
Your last bit of amazing Rotterdam architecture to see is the unique design of the De Rotterdam building. This unusual complex of three stacked towers was only completed in 2012, so the building is very new on the Rotterdam scene.
Mostly used for office space, these skyscrapers are definitely unlike any I’ve seen before in my travels.
Where to stay when you’re doing Rotterdam on a budget?
Luckily Rotterdam has plenty of options for those visiting on a budget.
- For a hostel-like experience, but with the option to have your own room with a shared bathroom, then Hostel ROOM is a great option.
- For a little further up the range, but still 100% affordable, Citizen M Rotterdam comes highly recommended.
- Finally, The Student Hotel is a great option for younger travellers (though I stayed there as a 30 year old and still enjoyed it!)
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